"For the first two-thirds or so of the 20th century, it was customary for each initiate to purchase a pewter tankard after initiation. The tankard would usually be engraved with each brother's full name, initiation date, chapter and college name. Central to the design was an exquisitely die-cast version of the Badge. The bottom of the tankard was made of glass.
"The glass bottom was the foundation of one of the Fraternity's most touching customs. The Delta Phi is a fraternity which binds its members for life. After the passing of a brother, it was expected that this tankard would be returned to his chapter. When the tankard returned to halls of the Delta Phi, the undergraduate brothers would break the glass bottom so that no one would use it again. Like a retired uniform number, the tankard became a monument to the memory of a departed brother.
"Sadly, like many traditions during the 1960s, the custom faded. Several chapters, however, have maintained large collections of the tankards, which they proudly display as part of their heritage. Tankards are once again available and - like other old customs - this proud tradition shows signs of resilience as the twenty-first century begins." (The Oracle 14)
This tradition was reestablished at the Omega Alpha chapter with the awarding of 41 tankards at the 2006 Wine and Cheese. The tankards were hand-crafted by Alchemy Pewter in Sheffield, England and shipped directly to the chapter. They are now available through the National Organization and will be ordered on an annual basis.
If you are an alumni who is interested in joining this tradition, please feel free order your own tankard from the Delta Phi National Store found here.